11.1.2  Classification of postpartum haemorrhage

Postpartum haemorrhage can be classified based upon the timing of the bleeding following delivery of the baby and the cause of the bleeding.

Classifications based on the timing of bleeding are:

  • Primary postpartum haemorrhage is excessive bleeding occurring during the third stage of labour, or within 24 hours of delivery.
  • Secondary postpartum haemorrhage (also known as late postpartum haemorrhage) includes excessive bleeding occurring between 24 hours after delivery of the baby and 6 weeks postpartum.

Classifications based on the cause of the bleeding are termed either atonic or traumatic PPH. We will discuss each of these and their management in the next two sections.

11.1.1  How much bleeding is ‘excessive’?

11.2  Atonic postpartum haemorrhage